Article in Desert Rat #36

Invasion of the Pod People!

Am I The Only One Left Who Sees The "Independence Day" Conspiracy?

By Glenn Campbell
Area 51 Research Center

See also: ID4 Curmudgeon's Page | E.T. Highway

Las Vegas, Nevada
July 4, 1996

I write this account not knowing if anyone will ever read it. Strange things are happening that I cannot explain, and no one seems to see them but me. I am posting this message to the internet in the hope that someone - anyone - might have made the same observations and know what to do.

America is now in the grip of "ID4" fever. Independence Day, the big budget Fox movie about an alien invasion of earth, opens this week at theaters around the country. Some are showing it 24 hours a day as hordes of humans line up to see their planet nearly destroyed. Pre-release publicity has been massive. ID4 appears on the cover of the current Time and Newsweek, and ads seem to run on all the TV networks every hour. Every review I have read has been laudatory - even in the New York Times - and everyone I know wants to see it.

The thing I don't understand is why? I have not seen the movie myself. Something tells me I MUST NOT see the movie. I have read the script, however, and the script sucks. ID4 is a remake of War of the Worlds, with credit neither to H.G. Wells, the author, or Orson Wells, who made history with his 1938 radio broadcast. Once you catch on that ID4 = WW, then the script becomes lifeless and holds no surprises whatsoever. Producers Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin proudly acknowledge they wrote it in four weeks - and it shows. The characters are one dimensional and the dialog predictable. The only deviation from the War of the Worlds plot is that, in the end, the aliens are not killed by a natural virus after landing on earth. Instead, they are done in by a COMPUTER virus delivered to the alien mothership by our stock Hollywood heroes. That's creativity.

Here's a synopsis of the script. (Please don't read it if you think it will spoil your fun.)

FADE IN. After being detected by radiotelescopes on July 2, a huge alien ship approaches Earth and is at first thought to be benign. It splits into multiple ships which hover above Earth's major cities. Naive UFO buffs gather on rooftops with signs welcoming the aliens, but a cable TV technician sees danger in the signals emanating from the otherwise silent ships. He manages to alert the President, for whom his ex-wife happens to be press secretary. Based on this new information, the President immediately orders evacuation of all the cities. Just then, the ships unleash the WALL OF DESTRUCTION - the main character in the film. After many futile attempts to stop it, the WALL decimates most of the world's metropolises. Billions killed. The President and a few other survivors take refuge at Area 51. In a final all-or-nothing battle, the cable guy joins forces with a fighter jock to fly a captured alien scout craft back to its orbiting mothership. The President, piloting a fighter jet, provides air support. A computer virus, designed by the cable guy, is delivered to the mothership. Mothership destroyed. Earth saved. Heroines fall into arms of heroes, as pieces of the mothership rain down in "Fourth of July" fireworks. FADE OUT. ROLL CREDITS.

In short, these are not friendly aliens. Their only significant line in the script is "Die, Exterminate... We kill you all!" (which I understand has been shortened to "Die!" in the final cut). Fortunately, the aliens move at a slow enough pace to allow the human plot to proceed. The majority of humanity is exterminated in this movie, but viewers can rest assured there is still time for romance. Of course the main selling point is not the plot but the special effects and the spectacle of seeing all those cities blown up. In the TV ads, we see the White House and Empire State building exploded from within. The aliens must have great respect for our culture to hit those landmarks first.

In half-hour promotional specials on Fox and the SciFi Channel, more clips were shown. Huge, ominous spacecraft loom over New York and Washington in prelude to the invasion. For each scene, I say to myself, "Wow, those are really great special effects!" I experience no illusion that the scenes are real, even for a moment. The Fox TV special was presented as a mock newscast, in the vein of Orson Wells' radio broadcast that caused widespread panic. This rendition, however, did not even begin to look real. The "correspondents" reporting from the field looked like actors, and the quality of the video was either too clear or had an artificial shakiness that was also unconvincing.

ID4 appears to be merely a "product," cranked out by the Fox entertainment factory according to time-worn formulas. It is a 50-cent script surrounded by $70 million in special effects and probably an even bigger marketing budget. What is a mystery to me is why the press, public and especially the community of UFO believers has fallen for it so heavily. To me, if the script is mediocre, then it is hard for the finished movie to be any better, no matter how many special effects you layer on top of it. Audiences ought to be immune to special effects by now. In the era of computer graphics, a moviemaker can suspend a spaceship over any city and blow up any landmark without leaving the office. This script seems mainly an excuse for connecting together these scenes of destruction.

With its spider-like aliens and their blandly evil intentions - in no way resembling anything in the credible UFO literature - it is surprising to also see ID4 on the covers of two of America's most respected UFO monthlies: MUFON Journal and UFO Magazine. Fox's money buys influence, in this case a Las Vegas junket and paid speaking engagements for UFO Magazine's editors and the MUFON director. They were brought here to visit "Area 51" - a major setting for the movie and a place you can't get to from here. In April, Fox organized a press tour from Las Vegas, cleverly timed to coincide with the National Association of Broadcasters convention attended by thousands of journalists. At least a hundred signed on for this free Fox day trip to the military border. Most of them seemed to go where they were told, reported what Fox wanted them to and asked no skeptical questions.

It is my conviction that the conspiracy runs much deeper than anyone else suspects. I cannot believe that the American press can be bought off so easily. Some other kind of influence must be at work beyond the normal money and power of Hollywood. I worry that it could be something subliminal, and this is why I have declined to see the film.

ID4 convoy abducted.
Convoy abducted from ET Highway.

Area 51 & The E.T. Highway

ID4 and its popularity would not disturb me except for the unusual deal between Fox and the State of Nevada. Nevada is the home of Area 51, a classified military facility about 90 miles north of Las Vegas. This large Air Force base was the testing ground for the U-2, A-12 and early versions of the F-117A Stealth long before these aircraft were known to the public. Area 51 is also the center of many UFO stories, most of which are nonsense but a few that I see as plausible. Several witnesses of varying credibility claim to have directly seen or worked with alien spacecraft in this vicinity, and because the government won't talk about the area or let reporters visit, these stories have never been resolved.

The filmmakers have attempted to exploit this existing lore by setting the final third of ID4 at this secret base - but theirs is Area 51 in name only. The script contains not even the smallest bit of technical accuracy about this facilty, and I am told there is none in the finished product either. In their four weeks of script writing, Emmerich and Devlin conducted no research into this part of Nevada, but that did not prevent the Fox marketing armada from descending upon it when time came to promote the film.

Fox would have bought Area 51 if it could, but since it was not for sale, they settled for a nearby highway, State Route 375, a popular hangout for UFO watchers. In a secret deal with Nevada's Governor Bob Miller, Fox essentially purchased the highway as a promotion for the film. It would be called the "Extraterrestrial Highway," a designation that had previously been proposed in the state legislature but failed. Early this year, Miller bypassed the legislature and approved the measure through the state Transportation Board, which he chairs. He then flew to Los Angeles to finalize the deal with Fox.

In spite of Nevada's public records law, the Governor's office has declined to release the details of this contract. Apparently, Nevada provided the highway signs, the state dignitaries, an army of highway workers and official sanction for the E.T. Highway unveiling. Fox organized, scheduled, publicized, funded and otherwise controlled the event itself. It was free to do whatever it wanted there to promote the film, with no regard for the interests of the state or its citizens.

It a mystery to me why the governor entered into such an agreement, in which the State of Nevada all but officially endorses the movie and gets little in return. ID4 wasn't even filmed in Nevada; the parts supposedly taking place at "Area 51" were shot in Utah instead. All the citizens of Nevada got from this deal was some vague promise of "economic development" by attracting tourists here, yet the services here are inadequate and the tourists have nothing to do when they arrive. The people who got the shortest end of this deal were the residents who must now live with this name and the many wackos it attracts. Locals were never asked about the drawbacks or whether they wanted an E.T. Highway at all. No local notice was given; no local hearing was held; and written objections to state officials have never been acknowledged. This is strange considering that the E.T. Highway was supposely intended to serve the local community. Most residents were not even invited to their own party and were barred from the Fox unveiling ceremonies if they tried to enter.

The governor never considered the impact of attracting average tourists - the sort who normally pull slot machine handles in Las Vegas - to this tense and poorly marked military border where many tourists have already been arrested. On behalf of Fox, the State of Nevada was now implicitly endorsing the generally flimsy UFO "sightings" along the highway. This is a disturbing precedent especially to those like myself seeking credibility for the UFO movement. I regard the the "E.T. Highway" as false advertizing, since I have never seen a UFO there in three years of looking.

Fox's concern was not the safety of tourists or the future of the highway. They were interested only in the herd of captive journalists and purchased UFO experts who they were shipping up from Las Vegas. The ceremonies were held in Rachel, the only town on the highway and the center of a fledgling UFO industry. To manage their flock, Fox set up a controlled compound and closed tent, guarded by hired security, local sheriff's deputies, state police and about a dozen state highway workers in orange vests. Security was tight because word had reached the Fox executives that I and a few of my colleagues planned to protest the unveiling, and Fox wanted to keep the journalists away from us. I am told that paranoia was rampant, especially among the Fox V.P.'s, who were no doubt alarmed by the fact that you can't get cell phone coverage in Rachel. No one knew where the "E.T. Highway Counterinsurgency Forces" would strike.

We had something that no one from Fox could ever understand: creativity. We bypassed their security altogether and abducted part of the convoy before it ever got to Rachel. This involved placing professional looking signs along the roadway on the 150-mile route from Las Vegas to Rachel. Our signs, which started near Las Vegas, said "ID4/E.T. Highway Dedication" with a big arrow indicating the direction to go. We were providing a useful service, because no one at Fox or State of Nevada had thought of this, and many late stragglers in the convoy of buses and cars would have gotten lost without them.

At a junction about 25 miles before Rachel, we executed "Operation Coyote (Wile E.)." The head of the convoy was allowed to pass, because presumably the people leading it knew where they were going. Then several cars approached whose occupants we recognized. They had inserted themselves in the convoy at the appropriate place for a cut-off. The arrows on strategic signs were quickly reversed, and our confederates turned off onto a long dirt road. The rest of the convoy obediently followed. This was not intended as a frivolous or malicious act. It was designed to illustrate an important point. Unprepared tourists can easily become lost here, and the military boundary, although heavily guarded, is also poorly marked. The road we sent the convoy down lead directly into the secret base, and if the tourists had kept on going, they would have soon been surrounded by men with guns.

Fortunately, the signs directed the cars to make a turn just before the border, and the convoy proceeded in clouds of dust back to the highway from which it came. We captured one of the press buses and about a third of the cars. All emerged safely from the ten-mile diversion, some motorist still thinking it was part of the plan. Their only souvenir of the trip was a heavy layer of dust both on and inside their vehicles.

Later, at the unveiling site in Rachel, we tried to mount a more traditional protest. This was "Operation Tall Picket." Certainly, we were within our constitutional rights to picket this event, because there were a number of unresolved concerns about visitor safety and improper contracts between the state and private enterprise. Instead of conventional picket signs, though, we constructed very tall ones, on extendible poles that could reach over 20 feet. At the top of each pole we attached a blank board about three feet wide. To this we planned to clip temporary signs printed on poster board, and we had stayed up all night to draw about a hundred for use in a variety of situations.

The idea is that we would stand behind the podium or stage but far enough away that we were out of range of security. As the governor or any other dignitary spoke, signs would appear above their head bearing slogans appropriate to the context. Since we had three picket poles, we could work them in unison, like Burma Shave signs, and we had written a script for each speaker. "E.T. Gov" would appear above the governor's head as soon as he approached the podium, and a creative series of political statements would follow. We would also give the audience instruction on when to "Applaud!" "Laugh!" and "Boo!" The aim was not to heckle or ridicule the speakers, although this might have happened incidentally. What was important to us was to get our message to those captive journalists that all was not as it seemed.

Unfortunately, high winds and the unexpectedly closed tent pretty much wiped out Operation Tall Picket. We got in a little bit of light picketing near the tent's heavily guarded entrance, but it wasn't very effective. However, we did mill about the area in fluorescent orange T-shirts that read in big, bold letters: "ID4 BUYS E.T. GOV." Although nasty-looking Fox employees were carefully checking everyone's credentials at the entrance, one of the members of our protest team was somehow able to slip past and into the tent wearing her orange T-shirt under her jacket. She positioned herself just behind and to the side of the governor's podium. She then discretely took off her jacket and held it in front of her, obscuring the slogan. As the governor began to speak, she dropped the jacket and exposed her chest to the audience and all the cameras. "ID4 BUYS E.T. GOV." Thugs from Fox immediately moved in her direction. They tried to stand in front of her at first, but she continued to maneuver for a better position in front of the audience. She was then physically removed from the tent by Fox personnel.

Curiously, although our operative and her T-shirt appeared in perfect juxtaposition with the governor in front of dozens of credentialed journalists, photographers and TV cameramen, no picture or account of the incident has ever been published or broadcast. I conclude that journalists, as a rule, do not like conflict; they would rather be told what to report by the Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Either that, or they were somehow being controlled. It may not mean anything, but those same journalists had seen clips of "Independence Day" in Las Vegas the night before. Could there be a connection?

A third operation had been executed successfully earlier in the day. It was "Operation Alternative View." When the convoy first formed in Las Vegas, our confederates were there, making sure that nearly everyone in the convoy got our "E.T. Highway Alternative Press Kit," a thick document of fact sheets, news clippings about tourist arrests and essays opposing the highway renaming and deal between Nevada and Fox. The people on the buses should have had two hours to read the material on the long trip to Rachel, but again a reaction was surprisingly absent. Most articles and TV spots on the unveiling reported no conflict at all. They said that Rachelites unanimously supported the name change. The only reasonably skeptical article, which was also the only one to report the abduction of the convoy, was written by a reporter from the Las Vegas Sun. It so happens that she was one of the few who had not see the screening of the film clips the night before. Coincidence?

I have not begun to put the whole sinister scenario together until now, but I recognized other unsettling clues at the unveiling. I had printed more T-shirts than I needed for the dozen members of our protest team, so I sold some of the extras at the unveiling to anyone who wanted one. I charged only what they cost me: five dollars each. A man came up to me and asked for one. I recognized him as Brent Spiner, the actor who plays "Data" on Star Trek and an eccentric scientist in ID4. I told Spiner that the shirts were five dollars. "Five dollars?" he said with sarcasm. "It isn't worth THAT!" Right then, I saw something disturbing in his expression and heard it in his voice. This wasn't "our" Data, the lovable, logical android. This was Data's evil twin brother, Lor.

Elvis was present at the unveiling, up from Vegas for the day, and so was Ambassador Merlyn Merlin II, an alien in human form who hails from several different planets at once. The Ambassador, who says he represents the "Saucerians of Avalon," is Carson City's only active alien lobbiest. For two years he haunted the hallways of the state capital, knocking on doors of the governor and legislators to push this E.T. Highway through. He says it will help prepare us for the coming arrival of his space brothers, scheduled to take place on this very highway before the end of the millenium.

Another alien on hand was Darth Vader, dark lord of the Star Wars universe. He was smaller than I had pictured him and had a pot belly, but the black plastic head was definitely the same, and I experienced an appropriate feeling of dread as he approached. He held out his hand to me and said, "Hi, Glenn. Assemblyman Bob Price." Price is a senior legislator from Las Vegas and one of the original sponsors of the E.T. Highway Bill - the one that had failed because some "sour grapes" senators thought it was frivolous. Lord Vader tried to put his arm around my shoulder for a photo opportunity, but I shrugged him away. Here I was with the virtual embodiment of evil - with or without the mask - and he wanted to be my friend! He never took off that mask during the whole event. Later I saw him again, milling about alone near the buses, looking downward. I saw him as a small, sad, lonely little Darth who no one fully understood.

It was then that it began to dawn on me that something in my universe had gone terribly, horribly awry.


I do not know how to deal with the immensity of what might be occurring. I'd like to confide my theory to someone, but I do not know who I can trust. All my friends want to see ID4, even those who participated in the protest. Some of them have already gone to it and have come back somehow... changed. I am trying desperately to think things through and come up with another explanation, but the alternative is even more disturbing. If there is no conspiracy here, then I would have to believe that all the journalists, state officials, legislators and UFO experts who have been involved in this promotion are both incompetent and utterly ignorant of their professional responsibilities. Occasional incompetence I might believe, but not this. I think this whole thing is big, really big, and I am just at the verge of putting it all together. I almost have incontrovertible proof; all I need is someone who will listen.

It is now 3 AM in Las Vegas, July 4, Independence Day. I have been staring at this computer screen for hours. I need a break. I need to take a walk. A visit to the Las Vegas Strip is always amusing, even though I don't gamble. A late-night buffet or steak special might lift my spirits. I hope it will also clear my head.

The tourists who aren't lined up to see ID4 are inserting coins and bills into slot machines. I stop to watch as a woman wins $1000 and is paid off by the attendant in new $100 bills. The lights on the machine are still blinking, and it plays a happy rendition of "I'm in the Money." The woman is not smiling, however. I see no emotion at all in her face as she takes the first of the hundreds and inserts it back into the same machine from which she won the jackpot. This must be part of the conspiracy, too. It is my thesis that Las Vegas, if not all of Nevada, is controlled by the Fox entertainment conglomerate.

Back on the sidewalk, I look up. A giant alien spacecraft, miles across, hovers silently above the casinos. I don't think anyone sees it but me.

This article was posted to alt.conspiracy.area51 and several other newsgroups on 7/4/96. For responses visit Deja News and search for "invasion pod people".

Related pages on this server: ID4 Curmudgeon's Page | E.T. Highway | Area 51

Created: 7/4/96
Last Modified: 7/5/96, 7/24/96, 8/1/96 gc